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How Your Mental Health Affects Your Diabetes

In case you didn’t know, October is mental health awareness month, a time to promote awareness of mental illness and the effect it has on our daily lives. For people with type 2 diabetes, paying attention to your mental health can go a long way in helping you manage your diabetes.

Depression and diabetes

Depression is one of the most common forms of mental illness to plague people with diabetes. Depression is more than having the blues. If you experience feelings of sadness lasting more than a few weeks that interfere with your normal ability to perform your everyday duties, you may be depressed. Other symptoms of depression may include one or more of the following:

  • loss of interest in things you once enjoyed,
  • too tired to perform activities of daily living, such as brushing your teeth or taking a shower. You may lack the energy to test your blood sugar, take your meds, or even prepare a sandwich.
  • difficulty sleeping (insomnia) or you may sleep too much (hypersomnia)
  • feelings of hopelessness, guilt or anxiety
  • aches and pains
  • feelings of irritability
  • thoughts of suicide or death

The mind-body connection

As you can see, dealing with depression and diabetes can be overwhelming. If left untreated, depression does not go away, it only gets worse and this makes it more difficult to cope with your diabetes. One affects the other; diabetes affects the way you deal with depression and depression affects the way you deal with diabetes. Someone said, where the mind goes the man follows. It’s called the mind-body connection.

Diabetes distress

If you have been suffering from diabetes for a long time, you may get tired of the hassle — the constant finger sticks, the doctor’s appointments, swallowing meds … this condition is called diabetes distress, and it can feel almost like depression. It can wear you down, but don’t give up. Your health is worth fighting for.

What you can do

If you suspect you are depressed, try the following:

  • speak to your doctor, your pastor, or a trusted friend
  • spend time with friends and/or family members. Do not isolate
  • pray, read scripture, and meditate
  • listen to relaxing music
  • join a support group for people with diabetes
  • ask your doctor to refer you to a mental health counselor who specializes in chronic health conditions

Depressive symptoms along with diabetes are serious and should be attended to without delay. Above all, you should not try to hide your feelings or pretend they don’t exist; they won’t get better if left untreated. Speak to your doctor, have him refer you to a mental health counselor, if necessary, and follow his recommendations. One of the easiest steps you can take is to join a support group for people with diabetes such as Type 2 Diabetics Network, and be on your way to managing this debilitating illness.

A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can send your life into a tailspin. It can leave you feeling alone and overwhelmed, but it doesn’t have to. Join my type 2 diabetes network group and get the help and support you need.

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Raising Awareness and Keeping An Active Mind

June is post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month. According to the VA, PTSD is a mental illness that affects people who have experienced some sort of trauma, such as a car accident, being in the war, sexual assault or some other life-threatening event. It’s normal for anyone who has experienced any of these to feel shaken up afterward, but if months have passed and you are still afraid, reliving the incident in your mind and it’s affecting your daily level of functioning, you could be suffering from PTSD.

Complex PTSD awareness ribbon (teal). Attribution: Text added to image created by MesserWoland

The first thing you should do is consult your doctor. He/she will tell you if you are in fact suffering from PTSD and what you should do. There is treatment available. Many clinics and hospitals provide treatment for such patients and sometimes these treatments are effective. However, during the time I worked in behavioral health, I saw many patients who came in and were treated with medication and therapy and they left feeling okay, only to return the following month, and the next, and the next.

What happened? Our scientifically-based treatments produced the desired outcome for a short time. It was just a band aid for the deeper, invisible wounds inflicted by the trauma. While the person was within the protective walls of the institution, he responded well to treatment, but once he returned to his normal environment, those wounds resurfaced.

Is there a treatment that would penetrate the layers of pain and hopelessness and misery brought on by the trauma? I believe there is. I believe there is a Healer who can give you that inner peace and joy and wholeness you desire. His name is Jesus Christ. The reason He can do this is because “he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53: 5).

Jesus suffered horribly and died for us all. He knows and understands what we are going through, and when He walked the face of this earth, He healed everyone who came to Him for healing. He is the same God yesterday, today, and forever. What He did then, He can do now.

And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. – Matthew 4: 23

I believe in science and I believe in doctors. I think they are wonderful people, but if you have issues, physical or mental, that are not being resolved, maybe you need a deeper touch. Maybe you need Someone who made you, knows all about you and can fix you in a heartbeat. Nothing is impossible with Him. Will you call on Him today?

A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can send your life into a tailspin. It can leave you feeling alone and overwhelmed, but it doesn’t have to. Join my type 2 diabetes network group and get the help and support you need.

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